A veteran fire captain is given the highest respect and honor when he got killed on Sunday when a collapsing roof hit him as he battled a raging blaze beneath. In his behalf, Philadelphia’s mayor ordered flags be flown at half-mast for 30-day period and prayers be said to console his family.
The 3rd firefighter to die recently, Capt. Michael Goodwin, 53, dropped onto the second-floor roof of the three-story in the Fabric Row building during Saturday night’s blaze. He died instantly at the scene. Fellow firefighter Andrew Godlewski, 28, tried to rescue Goodwin and suffered burns on his hands was released Sunday from the hospital, authorities said.
“We must never forget the grave risks that these heroic public servants take every day at a moment’s notice on behalf of us all,” Mayor Michael Nutter said Sunday.
Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers called Goodwin, a 29-year veteran, “a really good person.”
“He was the kind of guy who looked out for his folks,” he said. “A ladder man. A firefighter’s firefighter.”
Goodwin is survived by a wife, two grown children and three siblings, one of whom is a police officer, he said.
Police officers and fellow firefighters saluted Goodwin’s body, draped in an American flag, as it was carried to a hospital then to a funeral home.
Bouquets, a large toy fire truck and ladder adorned Goodwin’s fire station in south Philadelphia.
While the department was preparing to mark a year since an April 9 warehouse blaze that killed Capt. Robert Neary, 59, and Daniel Sweeney, 25, the untimely loss of Capt Goodwin came. Neary and Sweeney both perished in a collapse while inspecting an adjacent building
Ayers said that they have a department that is wounded; that they have scars that are fresh and that they’re now reopened.
17 residents were displaced by the blaze, and three of them needed financial help with hotels, food and clothing, according to the American Red Cross of southeastern Pennsylvania.
The blaze started in a fabric store downstairs before spreading to upstairs apartments and a neighboring boutique, the store’s owner said.
Bruce Blumenthal, the owner of Jack B. Fabrics, said he believes it started in a wall and may have been electrical in nature. Blumenthal said he smelled smoke coming from the basement at around 5 p.m. and found a box of collars and cuffs on fire. He tried to put the flames out with an extinguisher to no avail, he said.
Source: Philly Flags at Half-Staff in Firefighter’s Honor
Firefighters must refrain from endangering their lives and limbs when battling blaze. Putting out fires from under roofing or canopies that would fall or crash them to death is absurd. They can do their job with caution. Indeed it’s a rare opportunity for them to die a hero, but a waste of manpower. Like other workers in constant danger, firemen lived but once so enough precautionary measures must be instilled in the minds of every firefighter.